In Massachusetts we invest a below-average share of our state’s economic resources in public education. K-12 education spending as a percent of state personal income is 3.97 percent in Massachusetts compared to 4.12 percent nationwide.
Ultimately the goal of state economic policy is to raise the living standards of the people of the state. This generally requires jobs that pay good wages and provide decent benefits. The crucial questions of economic policy are about how to create an environment in which businesses that create such jobs can prosper. What levels of education and what skills do such employers need their employees to have? What type of transportation infrastructure do these businesses need for their employees to get to work and for their distribution networks to operate efficiently? What help do these businesses need gaining access to capital? Are there types of technical assistance that can help them to operate more effectively, and how important are special tax breaks that the state might offer? What is the appropriate role of government in each of these areas?
The money that the state provides to cities and towns for core local services is called General Local Aid. Our new factsheet describes the history of general local aid, the dramatic cuts of the last four years (amounting to roughly 1/3 of all funds), and various options for reform.